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West Virginia Escapes No. 14 TCU’s Comeback Attempt, 74-65



Photo: Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia escapes a 74-65 win over No. 14 TCU after the Horned Frogs came back from an 18-point deficit.

West Virginia (11-7, 1-5 Big 12) picked up their first win in conference play, ending a five-game losing streak.

West Virginia came out firing on both ends of the floor. It was noticeable in WVU’s first possession that they had a better vibe going than the past few games. The bench, players and coaches, was getting the team fired up.

WVU’s biggest lead in the first half was 18 with one minute left. TCU (14-4, 3-3 Big 12) led for 19 seconds in the entire game. Horned Frogs cut their deficit to two points with five minutes left in the game.

WVU fifth-year senior Kedrian Johnson led the team in scoring with a career-high 20 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Johnson drew multiple pivotal charges in the second half.

Free throws have been a common theme for West Virginia’s loses so far this season. Coming into the game, Mountaineers missed 56 free throws in the first five Big 12 games, which is the most in Division-I basketball during that stretch. WVU shot 20-of-26 (77%) from the free-throw line.

Joe Toussaint connected on a second-chance three-pointer with 13 minutes left in the game to give West Virginia a 52-35 lead. TCU head coach Jamie Dixon called his third timeout of the game at that point. Toussaint, a senior transfer from Iowa, finished with seven points and three assists.

WVU F Jimmy Bell was a problem for the ranked Horned Frogs. Bell recorded a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Mike Miles showed his quickness and ability to drive to the rim against West Virginia. The TCU guard had 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

TCU turned the ball over 19 times, with WVU scoring 24 points off those turnovers.

Wednesday’s game marked the first time that new assistant DerMarr Johnson was on the sidelines. Johnson was hired on Monday, replacing long-time assistant Larry Harrison. Johnson, a Washington, D.C. native, played under Bob Huggins at Cincinnati from 1999-00. Johnson comes from his alma mater after being the director of player development under current UC head coach Wes Miller.

Heading into the game, TCU was 0-10 at the WVU Coliseum. The Horned Frogs have defeated WVU four times since the 2012-13 season, all in Fort Worth.

West Virginia will get a couple of days off before hosting No. 7 Texas on Saturday. Mountaineers and Longhorns are set to tip-off at 6 p.m. on ESPN.

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